“We’ve become used to this sort of thing from him, but we shouldn’t,” said one critic of the former president.
Amid speculation that former U.S. President Donald Trump will announce his 2024 run next week, Rolling Stone reported Tuesday that the Republican leader has sought advice about how he could ramp up his war with the news media by jailing journalists if he regains control of the White House.
Trump’s first presidential campaign and four years in office featured constant attacks on reporters, outlets, and the industry in general, from his frequent declarations of “fake news” to going after journalists for reporting on leaked information.
“This year, as Trump has privately strategized about what a second term, potentially starting in 2025, could look like, he’s begun occasionally soliciting ideas from conservative allies for how the U.S. government and Justice Department could go about turning his desires—for brutally imprisoning significant numbers of reporters—into reality,” Rolling Stone revealed.
not trump trying to make us political prisoners. some of yall ride for this nut? smhhttps://t.co/qNQ3rVvIye
— yessenia funes (@yessfun) November 8, 2022
As the magazine detailed:
Several months ago, the former president briefly asked a small gathering of his allies and at least one of his attorneys about what would have to be done to make that authoritarian, First Amendment-shredding vision a norm, according to a source who was present.
“He said other countries do it—the implication being: Well, why not here?” the source recounts.
“We’ve become used to this sort of thing from him, but we shouldn’t,” author and lawyer Warren Kinsella tweeted in response to the reporting.
The revelation comes as Trump continues to publicly imagine journalists who work with leakers getting raped in prison, Rolling Stone noted. He has made such comments during rallies—including one in Ohio Monday night and another in Texas last month.
Election-eve Trump “joke” about prison rape of a reporter locked up for shielding a confidential source https://t.co/Mr6WcnOlzj
— Dan Mihalopoulos (@dmihalopoulos) November 8, 2022
Trump’s open hostility toward the media has carried over to his supporters—as was on display when a MAGA mob raided the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. Participants chased reporters on the scene, destroyed their equipment, and carved “murder the media” into a door.
A few months later, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) highlighted in its annual World Press Freedom Index that “Trump’s final year in the White House was marked by a record number of assaults against journalists (around 400) and arrests of members of the media (130), according to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker,” a partner of the global group.
Rolling Stone‘s new reporting was published on Election Day. Trump has actively campaigned for midterm candidates who support his “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him, and voters are weighing in on not only who will control Congress for the next two years but also key state races that could significantly impact the 2024 presidential contest.
For the love of God, if you’re American vote Democrat tonight. https://t.co/e4TVna8woN
— Nick de Semlyen (@NickdeSemlyen) November 8, 2022
During the Monday rally in Ohio, Trump—who currently faces several legal challenges—said that “not to detract from tomorrow’s very important, even critical, election, and I would say in the strongest way it’s a country-saving election… I’m going to be making a very big announcement on Tuesday, November 15 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.”